Kuta is known for it's vibrant nightlife and famous sunsets, not so much as a place of peace and serenity. Amongst the chaos of Kuta traffic, you would be surprised to stumble across a tranquil Buddhist temple (the only Buddhist temple in Kuta), Vihara Dharmayana Temple.
The temple is known locally as Kongco Kuta and dates back to 1876. It was also one of the Buddhist sites in Bali (there are only five) that the 14th Dali Lama visited on his tour to the island in 1982.
Located on the busy one-way Jl. Blambangan, the temple can also be entered via Jl. Singo Sari, where it's easier to park.
Entering from Jl. Singo Sari, you step into a peaceful shaded courtyard that seems a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Kuta. To your left is a pagoda surrounded by a moat filled with Koi fish and small turtles.
This unique place of worship under a banyan tree is where prayers are made to the "Four Face Buddha", and sticks of sweet-smelling incense are placed at the alters adding to the spiritual atmosphere of the place.
The main building is called Baktisala, and features rows and rows of colorful lanterns with tassels hanging from the ceiling. If you've never visited a Buddhist temple before, you may notice that the main colors are red and yellow.. this is true for all Chinese temples, including Vihara Dharmayana Temple in Kuta.
There are also other popular Chinese characters such as fierce dragons and lions, and the effect can be quite striking. Many couples actually get married at the temple, where they get blessed before starting their new life together.
The Dharmasala is a smaller temple where family prayers take place in front of various relics, deity figurines and a wall mural of the famous Borobudur temple in Java - the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
Roughly 4% - 5% of Indonesians are of Chinese descent and a visit to Vihara Dharmayana Temple offers an interesting insight into this side of Bali that isn't often seen as the majority of Balinese are Hindu.
Local devotees maintain the temple complex and can often be found inside the temple grounds arranging incense sticks and tidying up the courtyard. They also visit the temple regularly for prayers and other communal activities.
During the Chinese Lunar New Year, many celebrations are held at or nearby the temple including the "Barongsai" (Lion Dance) and Naga Liong or dragon dances.
Outside visitors may visit the temple however it should be remembered that this is a place of worship and as such, you should look and behave accordingly ie. don't wear your favorite Bintang singlet!
Certain rules also apply to flash photography in the prayer rooms and the photographing of some religious relics is forbidden, so best to ask before offending anyone.
As mentioned previously, there are only 5 Buddhist temples in Bali:
Address: Jl. Blambangan, Kuta
Address: Sunset Road, No. 88, Seminyak
Address: Puja Mandala, Jl. Kurusetra, Nusa Dua
Address: Jl. Erlangga, Singaraja
Address: Tegehe Village, Banjar, Singaraja
Vihara Dharmayana Temple is one of the more easily accessible temples, just 1km or so up from the main beach road, while the temples in North Bali can be included with other activities (such as hot water springs) to make for a very interesting day trip.
|Opening hours||Monday - Sunday , 9am to 8pm|
|Address||Jl. Blambangan, Kuta, Bali|
|Tel||+62 361 762 362|